Crank Counter with micro:bit

I’ve got a new guide up in Brown Dog Gadgets Project Database. This time we’re using the micro:bit along with a 7 Segment Display and a LEGO-based crank circuit. I call it the Crank Counter.

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Typically the build guides are not a step-by-step LEGO building guide, but they don’t need to be. LEGO should be open-ended building, and we want to encourage that. Even the circuit layout with Maker Tape doesn’t need to be precise. The components must be connected properly, but where you place them, length of tape used, etc. is less important. Building a functioning circuit is the goal. (Things that need to be more “exact” like the crank connections, are called out.)

I typically try to explain the code a bit and cover a few other basic concepts that relate to the project. Some are more advanced than others, but we try to simplify and not overwhelm.

Oh, you might be wondering if we can made a version of this that counts down as well as up depending on the direction you turn the crank, and yes, that’s possible, and it’s in the works. :)


Blink Without Pause on the micro:bit

If you’ve ever used an Arduino there’s a good chance you started with the Blink sketch, which is a great introduction to programming a physical computing device where you can see the outcome in the form a blinking LED. As you learn more and things get complex, you discover that using the delay statement in your code is not ideal as it prevents the code from continually running, so you can’t properly capture input to your microcontroller. There’s more over at the Blink Without Delay tutorial on this topic.

I’ve been doing a lot with the micro:bit lately, and my quick searches gave no equivalent for Blink Without Delay so I created Blink Without Pause.

The tutorial starts with micro:bit code for Blink With Pause (which is really just Blink) and then Blink Without Pause so you can compare the two.

For a real-world example there are two more, Blink With Pause With Button and then Blink Without Pause With Button which should clearly illustrate the value of not using pause if your code needs to do other things.

Oh, if you’re wondering where the micro:bit is in the illustrations above… it’s not there! The diagrams show the Bit Board that Brown Dog Gadgets will be releasing this fall as part of a Kickstarter campaign. Follow on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook to see some of the other projects we’ve been doing and find out when the campaign launches.